Sleep medicine is one of the newest subspecialties. Whereas humans spend roughly one-third of their lives asleep, serious investigation of sleep began only in the third decade of the last century, with experiments on sleep deprivation conducted by Kleitman at the University of Chicago and the demonstration of different electrical brainwave patterns in sleep and wakefulness by Berger in Berlin. Advances have since been made in understanding some of the processes that occur during sleep, although much remains elusive. As a clinical field, sleep medicine started to come into its own 35 years ago with the establishment of the Association of Sleep Disorders Centers, the forerunner of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in 1975. According to its Web site (http://www.aasmnet.org), the academy now has more than 7000 members—a testimony to the rapid growth and widespread interest in the field.
Rosen D. Sleep Disorders: Diagnosis and Therapeutics. JAMA. 2010;303(15):1543-1544. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.467